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WHAT IS REPENTANCE?

MAR 9

2 Corinthians 7:9-10
Memorise 2 Corinthians 7:10
“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation…”

Regret, guilt and sorrow. We all understand these words. We know their meaning and have experienced them personally one time or another. But what about repentance? Do we also know and understand what repentance really is, and most importantly, have we truly repented in Christ and enjoyed peace and joy through the forgiveness of sin?

Regret is not repentance. A feeling of guilt for wrongdoing is not repentance. A worldly kind of sorrow whereby a person feels terribly saddened for something that he either did or did not do is not repentance. Judas Iscariot regretted that he had betrayed Jesus. He returned the thirty pieces of silver that he received for his iniquity. He found no peace and finally he hanged himself (Matthew 27:5). He did not experience true repentance.

True repentance is described by Paul as godly sorrow, and godly sorrow always results in an irreversible change in the person. This involves a change of heart. Where a person used to enjoy sinning, he now makes a rational, intentional and determined choice to shun sin and honour Christ instead. His entire way of thinking and living are now at odds with the world. This cannot come about unless he is empowered by the Holy Spirit to do so through accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. This is why 2 Corinthians 7:10 says that “godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation”.

When we were unbelievers, we merely felt guilty for our wrongdoing until God revealed to us the true state of our sinfulness and a need for His forgiveness. This was when we truly repented of our sins and accepted Christ. Now, as believers who have the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are given the ability to recognize it when we inadvertently fall into sin. When this happens, we pray for God’s forgiveness out of a desire for holiness. Thereafter, we make a conscious effort to avoid falling into sin again. This, too, is evidence of true repentance.

Thought: To simply reject the ways of the world avails to us nothing unless it is done for the love of Christ.
Prayer: Thank You Lord for empowering me to be holy through the marvelous inner workings of the Holy Spirit.